Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Money Thing: Money and the Spiritual Path

When I go on Facebook (which is less and less these days) and go into the groups I am part of, there invariably is some sort of argument going on about money. Mostly the argument is that if you are “spiritual” or offer spiritual or shamanic services you should not accept money for said services. In fact, you are an asshole if you do, and stomping on tradition… you are a fake, a fraud, and karma will come back to you. The follow-up is usually an idealized whitewashed idea about how indigenous shamans did business, which invariably incites an argument about what constitutes a shaman, and how many of them are fakes and phonies and terrible, awful people.

This idea is evidenced by some of the people that contact me as well. Invariably someone will contact me with a situation that is quite complex- involving anything from possession to ancestral issues who expects me to spend my time reading their emails, doing healing work for them, and replying to them for free. Usually this is the same person who will get quite mad that I charge for my services and will repeat the arguments above, along with the sentiment that if I know how to help them, why don’t I?

A few facts for you about this scenario…

Shamans were typically considered very well off by indigenous standards. They were gifted food, items, livestock, and typically lived on a large compound with their family and extended family. They were cared for well, because their jobs were extremely hard and being a shaman was, and still is, extremely dangerous.

It goes without saying (but I will say it anyway) that we no longer live in communities such as indigenous shaman did. Modern-day spiritual providers need to go to the grocery store, feed their kids, pay their rent… just like everyone else.

People who are spiritual healers, shaman, etc. cannot do anything else with their lives. They can no longer be accountants, or work a 9-5 job. The pull for those who are called to this work is so strong and the time and energy it takes to become competent at this work is much more than what people would imagine.

Now that we have gone beyond the cultural ideas surrounding this, let us talk about the individual reasons why I accept money for my services…

Beyond needing to feed, clothe, and pay the rent reasoning (which is a surface reason, but still a reality) money is an energetic exchange. It is not evil (or good), but it is how we value things in our society. The type of patient who comes to me, pays the fees I charge, does the homework I provide, and is open to change is the one that has a huge healing session and gets the most out of the work. The patient who feels entitled to ask me for healing sessions for free has no reason to show up for the work. And they do not. I used to offer pro bono work- it never went well. These were the patients who were late for appointments, tried to control the work, and were ungrateful overall… and the work simply was not as powerful. They put nothing into the appointment- so they got nothing out.

The other type of patient that asks providers such as myself for free work is typically complex and has mental illness issues. I am certainly comfortable working with mental illness, but spiritual work tends to attract psychopaths, schizophrenics, and borderline personality types who most ethical practitioner would not choose to work with due to the state of their imbalances.

One of the simplest explanations about why I, and other healers, accept money is that we offer a service. Dentists, doctors, plumbers, librarians, artists, writers… are all professions who offer services. Spiritual healers do as well. By suggesting that they do not accept money, or it is wrong for them to do so, is suggesting that either their job is not important or that the spiritual level of existence is not. Many spiritual healers get the last-ditch effort patients- the people who have spent thousands if not millions on psychotherapy, medication, and all sorts of tapes, books and personal efforts to solve their issues. Someone does not show up to someone like me unless they have tried countless other healers. By paying money, you are showing respect to your own healing process and acknowledging that the spiritual aspect of yourself is important.

Beyond this, a single appointment (or a few) with a Spiritual Healer can change your life. I frequently work with people who have been in therapy for years, if not decades. People who have been through the Mayo clinic for experiences they can’t explain, who have been through acupuncturists, chiropractors, medical intuitives, allopathic physicans, medications, ER’s/hospitals, (you catch my drift) and they come to a Shaman or Spiritual Healer. Because they work with a level (or levels) of reality and a depth that few modalities or healers can touch, Spiritual Healing can heal things that nobody else can. I once had someone joke that an appointment with me was like a year of psychotherapy. The same is true for most effective spiritual healers- it is intensive, life-altering work. It is intense for the giver and the receiver and should be respected. In modern culture, this is through money- ensuring that the provider is taken care of in the outer, external world of car insurance, groceries, and rent.

One of the arguments that I hear often is that if you don’t charge, and are “spiritual” the money will just come. Divine flow, the universe, God/dess will bring it to you. This is certainly true if you follow the path you are intended to. However, there is a joke one of my patients told me- hopefully I don’t screw it up… A man was lost at sea. He repeatedly called for God to come help him. A floating raft appeared- the man did not take it because he was waiting for God. A ship appeared and offered to bring him on board. The man said he was waiting for God to help him. Finally, the man drowned. When he appeared before God, he asked why God did not help him. God said “I sent you a raft and those people!” This is true about money and being a spiritual healer as well. The right patients at the right times will appear to you. And they will provide you with money. And you will pay your rent.

A few thoughts about how a Spiritual Healer actually works

Many people make the argument that if you are a spiritual healer that you will be doing work like this anyway. Why not help someone? The truth is, most single appointments that I do with people take around a week. They take supplies- such as candles, herbs, etc that cost money. But mostly they take time and energy. A single appointment may take anywhere from two hours to fifteen, depending on the prepatory work and after-work that I need to do. I have spent years cultivating spiritual relationships with my helpers. Appointments require energy and considerable energetic exchange between myself, my helpers, and the patient. This is for one patient and one single appointment.

I, as well as many other ethical Spiritual Healers, do not accept all patients. This is certainly true. Even if someone wants to pay me more than my full fee, or begs for me to work with them. Why is this? Some people my spirit helpers tell me not to work with, some people are simply too mentally ill to work with, and some are out of my area of expertise (I refer this last category typically). Most patients are simply not ready- they are not ready to heal, to let go of control, to go through a period of healing, to change.

So, let us break this down…In a week, I might get one hundred emails. Sixty of them want me to help them without paying me anything, or to answer questions about their issues, or are submitting questions for my blog. Thirty of them are not a good fit for me- either due to mental illness or not being ready for the type of work I do. This leaves ten people who might realistically want and be ready to work, some of whom understandably need to think about the considerable commitment energetically and financially that an appointment will require. While I am thankful for my busy practice, sorting through everything to find the people I can actually help, who actually want help, and who are ready to change is fewer than you think and takes longer than one might think. While I certainly appreciate every email that I get, the reality of the situation is that since I only work with people who are ready and willing to receive help, much of my time is spent with people who are not ready for my help. This is true of every single spiritual healer I have talked to (as well as every acupuncturist, psychiatrist, etc).

So, what is the point here?

The point of this blog post is not to participate in the endless argument about spiritual healers and money. Money is simply an energy. It should not inspire anger, or fear. The idea that “spiritual people should not need or accept money” is really saying money is wrong and bad, and that money is something that someone who is truly spiritual doesn’t need or will magically appear. The truth is, if you are a spiritual healer, money does magically appear. In the form of patients you can help, in the form of a service for payment. This sentiment, that spiritual healers should not accept or need money, and are terrible people if they do, is simply a thoughtform. A thoughtform is a communal thought. In this case, it is like a bad game of telephone- people with a misunderstanding of how things worked with indigenous healer plus pop culture New-age Shamanism plus anger and fear equals this thought. And this thought doesn’t really make sense.

This thought is also a projection. If you are getting angry over money, or fear it, or are judging others for receiving it, having it, not having it… whatever the case may be… ultimately it points to your own unhealed wounds about money, not whoever you are projecting this on. What you see in others is your own unhealed wounds– and in this case it points to your own spiritual issues and money. Heal your own relationship with money, and you will realize that money is a current of energy- it either flows or it does not. And nobody is entitled to healing from anyone. If you cannot heal yourself, it is time to pay someone for their time, energy, and abilities.


Spiritual Advice Column: Permission to do Energy Work


our guitar player got mad at me tonight for channeling someone’s pain
away into my body where I can give it back out to ocean because I didn’t ask
permission to do so??? Then she sent me your link..and I read what you said
about wrong uses of energy transfer…but I’m simply taking pain away…like
via magnetic intentionality…is that wrong to do without explicit
permission from the person I am healing???



Although it sounds like you had wonderful intentions, unless you had her permission ethically it was not the correct thing to do. People have pain for a reason, and it is their job to figure out why that is, and to experience it. By taking it away, you may have stopped an experience they were likely supposed to have or a lesson they were to learn.

You can simply ask for permission from someone to do what you are doing. That way they are aware of it and can say yes or no. Most people, naturally, say yes. If you want to be more interactive with it without asking them, you can utilize something like Ho’oponopono where you heal the part of yourself that resonates or has created that person. You can do this by simply saying internally to yourself “I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you” for the part of you that created or wants to interfere with her pain.

If you are an empath or are physically or emotionally feeling their pain I always suggest to people to say thank you (internally) for the information, but that I do not need to feel their pain. Then it usually goes away.


P.S. Here is the original article on ethics here and the second article on ethics here

Interested in submitting to the Spiritual Advice column? Contact me here with the heading “Spiritual Advice”. Please note that I am not an allopathic physician or psychiatrist, and my advice is not intended as substitution for the advice of those professionals. I reserve the right to edit emails for clarity.

Mary Shutan L.Ac, CST-D, CZB, ABT offers readings, services and programs for people undergoing Spiritual Awakening issues, including Kundalini syndrome, as well as for people dealing with psychic abilities. You may contact her to set up a consultation for an appointment or go here for information on readings.

Ethics in Spiritual Healing, Reiki & Energy Work contd.

I have gotten some recent feedback for my last post on Ethics in Spiritual Healing, Reiki & Energy Work. Most of it positive, some negative, but a lot of interest in the concept of Ethics in this field. I have answered to the best of my abilities below some of the questions I have received.

What do you do if you see someone obviously in pain or suffering and want to give them Reiki?
What I do in this situation is ask their permission verbally. Often I do this simply and ask for their names, strike up a small conversation, and offer to either send them Reiki if they seem open to it, or ask if it is okay to send them your prayers. Although prayers and Reiki do have some differences, they are both guided energies, and people are generally more open to being on a prayer list.

What if I see something really bad, like cancer, in someone? Wouldn’t they want to know?
Generally I don’t advise walking around “reading” people- it is bad form. But if you are sensitive, clairvoyant, psychic, whatever, you will naturally notice things that most people don’t in others around you- diseases, patterns, thoughts, inner truths. First of all, what you need to understand is that you are viewing the universe through your perceptual lens- even if you are a powerful clairvoyant and you see the word CANCER in big bold neon lights above someone’s head it doesn’t mean that they actually have cancer. Also, why is it your job to tell them? Why you? What makes you important enough to walk around telling people what their truth is, what their lives are about, what their patterns are, how to fix them? Basically, the short answer to this question is don’t tell them. It is not your job, and chances are they wouldn’t take it well.

What if someone is in a coma or you can’t ask them but you want to help?
In the case of not being able to ask them verbally, you can ask their higher self. To do this, you need to make sure your ego is in check. I have had a few coma patients say no. You need to make absolutely sure that you are not doing this for any of your own reasons (ego, wanting to feel helpful, wanting to see what working with a coma patient is like, etc) before you proceed. If you are unable to do this, don’t do it.

I have people bring in their spouse/significant other/child for treatment. They say it is okay, but their higher self says “NO”
This is an interesting one. This has actually happened quite a bit to me- where a loving and Reiki or Shamanic Healing minded person has brought me their spouse, family member, friend for healing and they really don’t want to be there. They verbally say “yes” but when asking their higher self, the answer is clearly “NO!”. If this happens, and you do other work (like massage) you can offer to do that work instead. Otherwise I tell them simply that this work may not be right for them, and suggest a healing modality that would be better for them, and refer them out. I then typically offer to treat the person who sent them in the first place- because chances are they are more open and ready, and likely need some healing themselves if they are trying to corral a friend or loved one into an appointment with me. Plus, we have cords and all sorts of ties to our friends and loved ones, so if we are doing better, they are generally doing better also.

When I see a news report of something awful happening I want to help. How can I help if I am a Reiki practitioner?
If you are local in the area, the best thing you can do is often to be of physical assistance or financial assistance. Find out if there are groups going to the site where people who want healing can come for free. If you are not local, or are too sensitive to be “in the thick” of the situation, there are several things you can do:

• Volunteer or offer work to a charity or organization around you. Yes, it is not the “flavor of the month” disaster or what is currently being played on the news. But it gives you the opportunity to serve your fellow human, and to make the world a brighter, lovelier place.

• Work on yourself. There, I said it. The world is a reflection of us. If we work on ourselves, the whole world changes. What have you not healed? Who can you forgive? What can you let go of? Often we look outside of ourselves when the journey should be within. I know from my personal journey that the more I work on myself, the more my view of the world changes. The more you are healed, the less depression, desperation and emptiness come up when something horrible happens in the news.

• Send energy to the world as a whole. Some people have mixed feelings about this, but instead of picking a target, how about spreading the love around to everyone? Picture the entire globe, allow yourself to fill with light, and fill the globe with that light. It will go where it needs to.

How can I make sure my ego is not involved when I am doing Energy Work?
The ego is a tricky thing. As much as current New Age material tells us that destruction of the ego is what is needed, what is actually needed is a healthy, happy ego (hmmmm another blog post). A happy, healthy ego can tell us if we are doing something because of our stuff, or because of someone else. But since this is difficult, and a happy, healthy ego is a rare commodity it seems, you can set up a sort of fail-safe. You can do this by setting up with whatever sort of spiritual support you work with to block you in a specific way. I have set up a specific symbol that shows up when I am doing something that is not ethical or I may want to rethink, and then I stop. Other ways include a specific animal showing up, a sound, or another visual. One of my patients set up a smell. When you see/smell/hear this, you stop. This is obviously set up as a secondary measure, not a primary measure (meaning use the other methods first!)

Hope that answers all or most of your questions! Thanks for the feedback!

Mary Shutan L.Ac, CST-D, CZB, ABT offers readings, services and programs for people undergoing Spiritual Awakening issues, including Kundalini syndrome, as well as for people dealing with psychic abilities. You may contact her to set up a consultation for an appointment or go here for information on readings.

Ethics in Spiritual Healing, Reiki & Energy Work

When I attended a workshop a few months ago, I sat next to a woman who took one look at me and told me rather rudely that my crystal was “dirty” and it needed cleaning, and how and with what I should do this. She then said “Sorry” without meaning it, and sat back in her seat. At first I was angry at her- this was before we had established any sort of rapport and we hadn’t done much besides for exchange names.

When I took a step back from the situation, I realized that she was simply angry and rude with the world- she was going through some difficult life experiences and since I was a relatively calm person she wanted to entrain me into her world of anger and hurt. Reflecting even more, I realized that she was someone who was feeling out of place at the workshop, and that she was attempting to establish some credibility amongst professionals who had much more experience than her.

And when I stepped back even further from the situation, it got me thinking about ethics in the field of Energy Work. This simply isn’t talked about much- it is left to courtesy and manners that people who are sensitive or trained in energy work don’t go around telling people what their issues are or how to fix them. As Energy Workers, we see so much, but as ethical energy workers, we are not supposed to work without permission or tell people what we see because they may not be ready to hear it, or may not want for others to notice.

I work with and have trained many Reiki practitioners. When a natural disaster happens, plenty of Reiki practitioners “send Reiki” to the site because they believe it to be helpful. Sometimes they do so to specific people they have seen on the news or to the entire area. But is sending Reiki to an individual that has not given permission ethical? If you are a powerful energy worker who can work with the concept of the higher self and ask their higher self, the answer is maybe. But since most of us have egos, sending energy to someone who has no knowledge of it and did not request it is not typically ethical.

And what of sending energy to that whole disaster site? Plenty of us were doing this for the tornadoes in Oklahoma, or the Boston bombings. Sending energy to those sites is a lovely concept, but what sort of energy are you sending? Are you sending in your fears? Your obsessive energy? Energy that is unstable or based off a sense of ego- you feel unsafe and want to do something about a situation that you have no control over? Sending Reiki or energy to these sites can be a good thing, if your energy is stable, clear, and you are able to understand when not to intervene if something larger and more spiritual is going on. During these situations though, I have seen time and again that many energy workers are cording themselves to the situation and become tethered to it- becoming obsessive, fearful, constantly feeling in their own body what is going on with the situation. They are then reflecting this energy back through the cord to a situation that does not need any more fear, chaos, or heightened energy.

The next time you “send Reiki” to a person or site, question your ethics, the energy you are sending, and whether you are doing so out of a sense of help or ego. Sending Reiki, reading someone, or working energetically can be a beautiful thing when it is done with permission (ideally in person, or if necessary through the higher self), and with a sense of calm, clear, powerful energy. But often this energy is sent out of feelings of loss- loss of control, uncertainty on a personal level, and is not helpful to the situation. Consider the next time you work energetically if your ethics are impeccable. If they are, proceed. If not, reconsider how you can help the situation or take some time to reflect.

I think I have Kundalini- what now?

As I mentioned in my last post, I will be answering some of the questions that come my way from people around the world. As I also mentioned in my last post, I am not a licensed mental health or allopathic medicine practitioner, and my advice or thoughts are not a substitute for those services.

© Olga Vasilkova | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Olga Vasilkova | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Mary- I have been doing Ashtanga yoga for several years. It has completely healed my scoliosis issues and helped me through divorce and the death of my sister. Six months ago I started attended Kundalini yoga classes with my friends. I am used to feeling energy and have gotten my Reiki 1 and 2. A few months ago during class I had an experience and am not sure what happened though. I was in class and started feeling my body shaking and heat in my body. I felt my spine get all of this heat in it and started crying because I felt so much joy. Since this is anonymous I will say that I started feeling orgasms and hopefully nobody noticed that part at least. I also felt love for my friends, for the whole class, and really for everything. After that it was like everything went back to normal. I felt a bit shaky and like something big happened, though. I asked my teacher and she said it was a Kundalini awakening, but didn’t have anything else to say. Was she right? What do I do now? Where do I go from here?
– Yogigirl in Florida

Hi Yogigirl-
Thank you for such a clear description of what is going on with you. I get questions and reports about this sort of thing happening all the time, so your question is perfect and will certainly help many others who have had similar experiences.
A few things. Yes, what you were experiencing was Kundalini. There is a difference in the type of experiences and intensities that you can have when encountering Kundalini. In general, there are Kundalini stirrings, Kundalini experiences, and Kundalini awakenings. What you experienced was a Kundalini stirring.

So what is a Kundalini stirring? A Kundalini stirring is pretty close to what you experienced. It is an encounter with the Kundalini energy that typically lasts for a short period of time and is relatively mild in nature. It allows you to feel consciously your connection to the divine. It allows you to have greater understandings that were out of your current realm of experience- such as great amounts of love, feelings of interconnectedness, and realizations about your true nature (or who you might be if you didn’t have to deal with physical conditioned reality, day-to-day stuff, etc).

Kundalini stirrings also allow access to the strong current of energy that is Kundalini. The feeling of heat coming up the spine (although about 5 percent of people experience Kundalini as cold) is actually what Kundalini stirring describes. It is an energy that comes up the Du channel in Chinese Medicine. The Du channel is an extraordinary channel (one of the deepest reservoirs of energy in the body) which is one of the channels that has formed that body- physically, mentally, spiritually- on all levels.  Kundalini energy typically stays fairly dormant at the end of the sacrum, and when it stirs, a wave of heat, bliss, orgasms, and deep insight occurs.

The experience of Kundalini stirring is typically pretty momentary- meaning that it happens once for a short period of time. That momentary experience can happen many times over the course of a lifetime, but if it does not go beyond the symptoms that I have described, or does not become a permanent and common occurrence in your life, it is technically not a Kundalini experience or a Kundalini awakening, although stirrings can be the first signs of Kundalini awakenings. A Kundalini stirring can be a life-changing experience and can deepen your spiritual understandings and your experience of this world from even momentary access to the energy of Kundalini.

So, yogigirl, it sounds like from your description that you experienced a classic Kundalini stirring. I would encourage you to gently keep on going on your path. You do not need to do anything. Let your experience of the energy guide you to be a more loving person who is closer to the nature that you experienced in that class. Kundalini is not something that should be forced or experimented with, and is best if awoken gradually and naturally so it does not lead to crisis. If you begin to experience more significant or permanent symptoms, you may be experiencing a Kundalini experience or a Kundalini awakening.

What is a Kundalini experience? A Kundalini experience in simple terms is a more intense experience of Kundalini. Like the stirring, it is typically momentary, although its implications for your life can be long-lasting. A Kundalini experience can happen as part of a Kundalini awakening, or can be a singular experience.

Let me explain. A Kundalini experience involves not only the “stirring” of Kundalini and a gentle snake-like rising out of slumber but a full body experience that is quite intense. There would be no hiding this experience. Shaking, crying, moving into full body postures (kriyas and mudras), extreme amounts of energy running through you, feeling of earth energies and the whole world, pain, drastic increases of psychic abilities, profound spiritual realizations, access to spiritual energies outside of the self, communion with God or other powerful beings, temporary blindness, and extreme overwhelm happen. All at the same time, typically.

A Kundalini experience is extremely overwhelming and can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks (I once worked with someone who had been experiencing it for a month and a half with this intensity, but that is atypical). With this experience, you are not able to function or act normally to the world. Luckily, for most, this experience only lasts for minutes rather than hours.
This experience can be triggered by many things. The Kundalini experience can be a natural part of a Kundalini awakening, or can happen without a full Kundalini awakening. Typically, most people I have run into who experience a Kundalini experience without a full awakening have had it occur through energetic transmission from a powerful guru (shakti/attunement) or through attending an intense spiritual workshop, although I have heard of it from energetic transmission from a place as well (Mount Shasta, Victoria Falls, and Sedona area if I recall correctly).

Although I say that this experience is momentary, it has far-reaching implications for the rest of your life. Basically, you will never be the same after. The experience of such profound energy has changed you- your outlook, your beliefs, your understanding of the world. Since this energy has moved through you, it has quickly opened up channels and destroyed old beliefs, blocks, and baggage you have carried. It also suggests that you are likely to open to a full Kundalini awakening, or are beginning to experience one.

What is a Kundalini awakening? The main thing that differentiates the Kundalini awakening from the experience or stirring is the intensity and the permanence. I differentiate the experience and the awakening because of cases of Experience that have not resulted in Kundalini awakenings. A Kundalini awakening is permanent. It is not a momentary experience, or a few experiences. You can look at previous blogs here and here for signs, symptoms, and causes but a true Kundalini awakening is a process that never ends.

Although many K awakened experience Kundalini experiences, the true Kundalini awakening is like a wave, constantly bringing up new material to process. It leads you deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole until it is a fully completed circuit and the Kundalini energy can run fully through you without resistance or blockages. There are less active stages of Kundalini, but it is always with you and can always be sensed. It does not go away. Many people report to me having a Kundalini awakening in 1978 and 1995 and then two days ago. These are stirrings or experiences of Kundalini, not an awakening.

So what are the main differences? A Kundalini stirring is a momentary access and ability to feel Kundalini energy. It is profound, but typically mild compared to other experiences, and you will typically be able to function (respond to others, still be a part of the world) while it is happening. In a Kundalini experience, there is the chance that it will be a profound experience likely to repeat a few times throughout the course of your life. It will likely change you dramatically. It may or may not lead to or be a part of a full Kundalini awakening. The Kundalini experience is more intense than the stirring. There is a loss of ability to function, a drastic increase in energy and body movements that are spontaneous and out of your control, and afterwords a drastic shift in worldview, beliefs and understandings will occur.
A Kundalini awakening is a permanent awakening of the energy. It acts like a wave- and can be as intense as a Kundalini experiences, or more dormant and gentle. It will work its way through your blockages and drastically change everything about you and your world. Kundalini experiences happen within Kundalini awakenings- the main differentiation is the permanence of the awakening. With a Kundalini awakening the change is permanent- the energy is always with you and always doing something. It is a permanent spiritual process that has been started and will never stop.

I hope that explains and differentiates the symptoms and experiences for those who have inquired. I offer full readings of your situation, or accept questions for my new spiritual advice column here (please put Spiritual Advice in the heading). I also offer individual services and programs for people dealing with spiritual experiences, Kundalini and other awakenings, and psychic abilities. You may contact me with interest in those. Be well, and good luck on your journey.